Ebola survivor: Pleas for US help fell 'on deaf ears'

One of the few American survivors of Ebola sharply criticized the U.S. government on Tuesday for what he called a delayed and inadequate response to the deadly outbreak ravaging West Africa.

Kent Brantly, an American doctor who contracted the disease in Liberia, told members of Congress that he and other health workers were ignored for weeks as they requested more resources to fight the outbreak.

“It is a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves that the vast mode of the Atlantic Ocean will protect us from the flames of this fire,” Brantly said. “Instead, we must move quickly and immediately to deliver the promises that have been made.”


During the five weeks he treated patients before he fell ill himself, Brantly said "our pleas continued to fall on deaf ears."

Until he and other infected Americans were brought to the U.S. for treatment last month, Brantly said the national response "remained sluggish and unacceptably out-of-step with scope and size of the problem that is now before us."

Brantly's rebuke of the U.S. government comes after he spent the morning at the White House with President Obama.

Obama just announced a major offensive against the virus, deploying up to 3,000 troops to the devastated region. The army-led offensive comes after weeks of hesitation by U.S. leaders as they evaluated the threat. 

Even as the U.S. government closely followed the outbreak throughout the summer, Brantly said no significant action has been taken until this week.

Brantly said in the five weeks that he treated Ebola patients, only one survived. In the two months since he fell sick, Brantly said the death toll has tripled.

The United Nations said Tuesday that $1 billion will be needed to control the outbreak. The Obama administration has committed about $175 million so far in the fight.